Mandy’s Make Cafe Review
When I had my first child I quickly realised that two things were essential to help me function through the sleep deprived baby years – coffee and cake.
If I went out to a cafe when my firstborn was tiny, he was quite content to watch the action from the comfort of his push chair and have a little nap when it all got a bit too much for him. Mummy got to drink her latte in peace and everyone was happy. As my little fellow grew, his needs changed of course and he wanted to get out of his high chair and join in the fun.
With this new stage thrust upon me, I identified a bit of a gap in the cafe market. Although there were lots of so called ‘child friendly’ venues where Mums and the occasional Dad could meet for their caffeine fix and a natter, with the exception of toddler groups, there was hardly anywhere with any sort of facility to get the children out and let them do something.
But now we’re in Portishead and times have changed. I’ve written previously about some of the great facilities for children at Portishead Youth Centre and now we also have Mandy’s Make Craft Cafe. After opening the little craft cafe in the Precinct a few months ago, Mandy kept hearing customers talk about Practically Perfect Mums so she invited us along to try out a craft session and a selection of dishes from her menu. My 9, 7, 4 year old and I were very happy to go along and investigate and share our findings with you. The boys studied the craft options and initially chose different projects, but being huge Minecraft fans (a video game for those of you lucky enough to have avoided them still!) eventually they all decided to decorate a plate featuring their favourite characters.
First of all Mandy encouraged them to draw their designs on paper, using normal felt tips. My 4 year old took great care designing a Minecraft creeper.
Then, after a brief explanation about how to use the special pens, the boys got started on their plates.
They had no problem drawing with the pens and there really wasn’t any mess. If they went wrong it was possible to rub the mistake off while the design was still wet.
They were completely engrossed in the project so I discussed lunch options with Mandy and enjoyed my artisan ‘Moon Roast’ coffee while they worked.
The menu includes home baked cakes and quiches, fresh salads and children’s finger foods.
I didn’t want to disturb the creative juices so I’d asked Mandy to select a couple of her own favourite nibbles for the children.
All this creativity is hard work of course and the boys were pleased when the refreshments arrived.
They’d heard there were fizzy drinks on the menu so I gave in – just this once of course!
The glasses and straws were fun too.
I thought this was a perfect selection for the boys to munch on while they finished working.
This dip platter is just the sort of snack I like to give them at home – although my hummus would be shop bought and served in the tub (sorry!).
I’m not sure how well you can tell from a photo but my salad was delicious, filling and full of nice nutritious stuff – a far cry from the few leaves of lettuce which is often served up in the name of salad.
By the time we finished lunch, the plates were just dry enough for us to take home and bake on a low heat in the oven to fix the designs.
VALUE FOR MONEY
We decided to decorate plates because it was something the boys would use over and over again. They are now firm favourites in our household and are used on an almost daily basis. There are plenty of other craft options available to suit a variety of ages, including decorating an egg cup, a mirror or a bag. They start at £3 which I think is pretty reasonable. Even with 3 children, where I subconsciously multiply every price tag by 3, it’s still not going to break the bank. You can drop in any time and there will be something to make and do for around £5.
I wasn’t sure if my boys would be a bit old for this, but as you can see, my 4 to 9 year olds really enjoyed creating their craft. Since we first went I’ve also heard lots of good reports from friends with various aged children.
If you haven’t seen the cafe yet, you’ll find it tucked away in the precinct, near Spec-savers. It’s a modest sized premises so if you’re going as a group, it may be worth checking if there’s a party before you go.
AND I ALMOST FORGOT THE CAKE!
I’ve also been back to sample the carrot cake – purely for research purposes – and it was excellent. If you visit Mandy’s Make, why not tell us how you got on? What age is your child and what craft did they enjoy? You can add a comment about your experience below.
DISCLOSURE: We were provided with the boy’s plates and our refreshments for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.